246679 Association of hopelessness and sexual risk behavior among young African American men in San Francisco

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 8:30 AM

Sarah Kagan, MPH , Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Julie Deardorff, PhD , School of Public Health, Maternal and Child Health, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Jacqueline McCright, MPH , STD Prevention and Control Services, San Francisco Department of Public Health, San Francisco, CA
Maureen Lahiff, PhD , School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Sheri Lippman, PhD, MPH , Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Background: African American youth bear a disproportionate burden of sexually transmitted infections (STI) and HIV infections and face unique social environmental risks for STI/HIV infection such as high rates of incarceration and violence. It is posited that environmental stressors may lead to higher rates of hopelessness, which in turn leads to increases in risk taking behavior. We hypothesized that as hopelessness increases, sexual risk behavior will increase—specifically inconsistent condom use and number of casual sex partners.

Methods: Street-based recruitment was conducted in a low income neighborhood of San Francisco; 108 African American men 15 - 24 years old responded to a brief self-conducted survey in 2010. The survey included socio-demographic and sexual behavior questions and Beck's Hopelessness Scale. The associations between hopelessness and sexual risk behaviors were evaluated with multivariate logistic regression.

Results: The median hopelessness score was 2 (0 least hopelessness - 5 most hopelessness). About half of the men consistently used condoms with a casual partner. Men reported less consistent condom use with main partners. Of sexually active participants (n=96), 37.5% had two or more casual partners in the last three months. Increased hopelessness was associated with decreased consistent condom use with a casual sexual partner, adjusting for employment, socioeconomic status and education. (OR: 0.43, 95% CI: 0.25, 0.75).

Conclusions: These findings support the notion that hopelessness may negatively impact sexual risk-taking behavior in young males. Further longitudinal research is needed to explore causality and elucidate the relationship between social environmental factors, hopelessness, and behaviors among youth.

Learning Areas:
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe structural, psycho-social, and behavioral factors that lead to HIV infection in African American adolescent males. 2. Analyze the relationship between hopelessness and sexual risk behavior.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, HIV Risk Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I was trained at UC Berkeley's School of Public Health in the Maternal and Child Health department.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.